Campus News & Events

18th-Century Man: Assistant Professor of History Researches a Revolutionary Tale


Kirk Davis Swinehart, assistant professor of history, specializes in early American history. (Photo by James Ward Swinehart, Jr.)
 
Posted 05/02/05

Kirk Davis Swinehart, assistant professor of history, has been spending most of his time in the 18th century with an Irish knight and a Mohawk woman.

Swinehart’s research and teaching focus on events from the period just before and leading up to the American Revolution. He has also done extensive research on the New World soldier-adventurer Sir William Johnson (1715–74) and his families, Irish and Mohawk, both of which fought for Britain during the American Revolution. Funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Enhancement Grant, Swinehart will spend next year finishing his book on Johnson and his Mohawk common-law wife Molly Brant.

“Sir William’s story is easily one of the eighteenth century’s most seductive—a story of setting out and making good, a story reenacted for centuries throughout the British Empire,” Swinehart says. “Monarchical, rich, and sexually corrupt in the eyes of a fledgling nation, this unlikely couple represented all that America struggled to define itself against after winning independence from Britain.”

Swinehart’s book, tentatively titled “Molly’s War,” is a narrative that recounts an intimate history of the Crown’s uneasy military alliance with the Mohawk Indians of central New York. The story chronicles Sir William Johnson’s 20-year relationship and domestic life with Brant (1736–96), a powerful Mohawk woman who struggled to maintain the Mohawks’ allegiance to George III after Johnson’s death.

The book is under contract with Houghton Mifflin in North America and Hodder Headline in the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth. 

Swinehart’s “Molly’s War” derives its narrative verve from the events and places that shaped Brant and Johnson’s lives: their childhoods in the New and Old Worlds; the circumstances of their meeting and subsequent two decades together; the building of the estate they shared uneasily with their eight children and with Johnson’s three white children; and the two decades Brant spent without Johnson, waging war and living as a single mother confronted with heartbreaking blows.

Many have written about Johnson since his death in 1774 but too often he has been depicted as a caricature of the British colonial official. Swinehart says his research, conducted in British and American archives–including the British Library, the Public Records Office in London, and in Sir William’s own published papers–suggests a more complicated portrait than the ones offered by previous biographers and scholars. Swinehart says Johnson was a devoted father, a great lover of fun, and a man of tremendous intelligence and empathetic powers.

To complement his research, Swinehart spends time in physical locations where Johnson and Brant lived. He has spent extensive time at the house they shared, Johnson Hall, which still stands, 45 miles northwest of Albany. This summer, he’ll be in London, searching for the family’s banking records, and in Dublin, visiting Johnson’s childhood house.

Swinehart’s interest in Johnson and Brant dates back six years. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, where he studied American decorative arts, he pursued a Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University. While at Yale he studied with prize-winning colonial historian John Demos, who changed forever how Swinehart writes history. That is when he began his doctoral dissertation on Johnson.

“Writing narrative history is for me a way of enriching our sense of the eighteenth century,” Swinehart says. “So, too, is reconciling the history of early America with the history of the British Empire.”

Swinehart says he hopes to spend his life doing work that combines scholarly rigor and accessibility in equal measure, inside the classroom and on the page. Students, he finds, learn best about early American history when people and life stories are placed front and center: when enormous social and economic changes can be discerned in the life of a James Boswell or a Benjamin Franklin or a Molly Brant.

At Wesleyan, Swinehart has taught all self-designed courses. These include the survey of early American history, narrative nonfiction and historical biography and the British Empire, a seminar on the Puritans, and another on early American furniture and art.

“I believe in reaching intelligent, curious people, in opening up worlds to people who may never become scholars but who — if you can persuade them of a book’s capacity to transport and transform — may become discerning adult readers of serious literary nonfiction,” Swinehart says. “It’s always a marvel to watch young readers connect for the first time with people who lived over 200 years ago.”

In addition to the Mellon Foundation Career Enrichment grant, Swinehart is the recipient of a Yale College Teaching Prize and of fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, and the New York Public Library. Prior to coming to Wesleyan in 2002, he was the Mellon Research Fellow in American History at the University of Cambridge.

“That’s my vocation,” he says. “To reach those who will never become professional historians, teach them that reading books is a lifelong pleasure — and the cheapest vacation they’ll ever take.”

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Human Resources Launches Virtual Orientation Web Site


The Human Resources department’s new Virtual Orientation Web site provides vital information for new employees.
 
Posted 05/02/05

Prospective employees can learn all about Wesleyan before they even set foot on campus — just by going online.

The Human Resources department has launched a Virtual Orientation Web site this month for new employees. The site can be viewed at:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/hr/newemployee

The site features a list of important resources, interesting facts and valuable information that employees will need before they arrive and during their first month at Wesleyan.

“We wanted to create a place for new employees to learn as much as possible about Wesleyan before they arrived” says Julia Hicks, associate Human Resources director.  “We also wanted to provide a place where existing employees can also view useful human resources information.”

The Virtual Orientation web site contains similar material given to new employees on their first day but includes additional features such as an information on campus dining, the computer store and child care resources, the adverse weather policy, and even Wesleyan trivia. A new employee checklist explains where to pick up a Motor Vehicle Registration Form, Wesleyan Identification Card and how to get signed up for Wesleyan benefits.

The site also offers resources to employees who are not familiar with the Middletown area. An extensive list of places to eat and things see and do in Middlesex County is available on the site, as is a map of Middletown.

“Even employees who have been here for years will find a great deal of useful information on this site,” Hicks says.

The site was developed by Vanessa Sabin, Human Resources administrative coordinator; Pat Leone, World Wide Web administrator, Jennifer Carlstrom, Web manager and Sasha Foppiano, formerly a web designer for the Office of University Communications. Sabin and Dan Pflederer, Human Resources functional specialist, coordinated focus groups to gather input and feedback regarding the site.

The development team explored numerous university orientation Web pages and came up with our unique look and feel.

“We picked a design that we felt would be the best fit for Wesleyan,” Hicks says.

Harriet Abrams, director of Human Resources, encourages Wesleyan employees to offer feedback on the site and included a suggestion box link on the site for this purpose.

“We consider this a work in progress and we’ll be continually updating and enhancing it,” Abrams says. “The site is primarily focused on new hires but since it’s accessible to anyone visiting Wesleyan’s site, it’s also a terrific marketing tool to encourage others to apply.”

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan University Announces 173rd Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients


Posted 04/19/05
Wesleyan University recently announced that it will confer four honorary degrees during its 173rd commencement exercises on Sunday, May 22 to the following recipients:

  • Amy Gutmann (Doctor of Letters) – Amy Gutmann, Wesleyan’s commencement speaker, became president of the University of Pennsylvania this year. Formerly, she was provost and Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. She was the founding director of the Princeton University Center for Human Values, a multi-disciplinary center that supports teaching, scholarship and public discussion of ethics and human values.
  • Bill Belichick (Doctor of Humane Letters) – Bill Belichick earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Wesleyan in 1975. Also a Wesleyan parent, Belichick and his wife, Debby, have been long-time advocates of and contributors to Wesleyan and community charities. In 2002 Coach Belichick guided the underdog New England Patriots to their first world championship, against tremendous odds. He has since repeated that feat twice, most recently this year at Super Bowl XXXIX. Belichick has earned a reputation for being one of football’s elite game strategists whose defensive game plans have consistently been credited for defusing some of the NFL’s most potent offenses.
  • Edward P. Jones (Doctor of Humane Letters) – Edward P. Jones was educated at Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia. His first book, Lost in the City, was originally published by William Morrow in 1992 and short-listed for the National Book Award. A collection of fourteen short stories, Lost in the City deals with African American working class and underclass experiences in mid-20th century, inner-city Washington, D.C. Jones was named a National Book Award finalist for a second time with the publication of his debut novel, “The Known World,” which subsequently won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • William Barber (Doctor of Letters) – William Barber is the Andrews Professor of Economics Emeritus at Wesleyan. Barber joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1957 after receiving his doctor in philosophy degree from Oxford University. He is recognized as an expert on the history of economic thought, on economists as policy advisers, and on development economics. His next book, Volume 4 of “Perspectives on Applied Topics and Forward Trajectories,” is expected to be published in 2005.

Wesleyan will also bestow the Baldwin Medal, the highest alumni honor presented by the University, to John F. Woodhouse, ’53, P’79, former president and CEO of Sysco Corporation, named trustee emeritus following 15 years on Wesleyan’s Board, and most recently, chairman and leader of the successful $287M Wesleyan Capital Campaign. David B. Jenkins, ’53, P’83, former CEO and president of Shaws Supermarkets, named trustee emeritus following 12 years on Wesleyan’s Board, chair of the Campaign for Liberal Learning and National Leadership Gifts Chair for the Wesleyan Capital Campaign, will receive the Baldwin Medal at Homecoming/Family Weekend this fall.

The Baldwin Medal pays tribute to the late Judge Raymond E. Baldwin of Wesleyan’s Class of 1916. Baldwin was the only man to have held the offices of Connecticut governor, U.S. senator, and chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

$800,000 Grant to Benefit Computer Sciences


A new grant will expand emphasis on computer science instruction and resources.
 
Posted 04/15/05

An $800,000 Mellon Foundation grant will allow the Mathematics and Computer Sciences departments at Wesleyan University, Connecticut College and Trinity College to collaborate on a new cost and resource sharing arrangement, expand the departments’ curricula and provide incentives for more computer science faculty to work in a liberal arts setting.

The grant will fund the hiring of four post-doctoral fellows in computer science who will develop new courses, seminars and workshops. While each fellow will be employed by a “home” institution, all four will provide instruction and collaborate with colleagues at the three participating academic institutions. This will include on-site instruction and the simultaneous teaching of courses at the institutions through video conferencing.

The grant also focuses on providing resources for the recruitment, mentoring and training of women and underrepresented students in computer sciences. Methods will include faculty and peer mentoring, workshops and programs on career and research opportunities, and the creation and distribution of materials aimed at interesting nontraditional students to enroll in introductory computer science courses.

Wesleyan University, Connecticut College and Trinity College have enjoyed a long tradition of academic collaboration known as the CTW Consortium, which includes sharing instructional technology and library service resources. In recent years, the Mellon Foundation has also awarded grants to the CTW Consortium to sponsor a computer sciences joint colloquium and to build on existing shared resources to improve the curricula of all three member institutions.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education, museums, and art conservation, performing arts, population, conservation and the environment and public affairs.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations with Eric Cárdenas, Connecticut College

Noted Journalists Debate Iraq, Foreign Policy


Posted 04/15/05

“Vanity Fair” contributing editor Christopher Hitchens and Pulitzer Prize nominee Michael Parenti participated in a debate titled “Iraq and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy” April 18 at Wesleyan’s Memorial Chapel.

Hitchens is an Oxford-educated self-described liberal who has become a supporter of U.S. intervention in Iraq. A former columnist for The Nation and book critic for Newsday, he is now a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine. His books include “Hostage to History: Cyprus From the Ottomans to Kissinger” and his most recent, “Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays.”

Parenti, a Yale graduate, has been a persistent critic of U.S. foreign policy for over 25 years and strongly opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. His most recent book, “Superpatriotism,” explores the cultural dynamics that underpin America’s approach to foreign policy in recent years. He has reportedly written over 250 articles for scholarly journals, periodicals and newspapers.

The presentation was sponsored by Wesleyan’s Office of the President, the Sociology and Government departments, WESU 88.1FM, WesPeace, the United Student Labor Action Coalition and the Muslim Students Association.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Saturday Program is All About The Kids


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Pictured above, Lydia Bell ’07 (center) and area children watch the Footnotes Dance Theater perform during the Saturday for Kids Program’s “Buddy Day.” Bell is a substitute teacher at Saturday for Kids, a recreation/respite program for children with disabilities.

At right, Saturday for Kids Program Director and Wesleyan administrative assistant Debbie Sierpinski helps a child with a craft project. Sierpinski is recruiting volunteers and performers for the program.

Posted 04/15/05

Twice a month, Lydia Bell ’07 gets to mingle with an aspiring rock star.

“He really loves to get everyone singing ‘Yankee Doodle,’ or doing the moves for the ‘YMCA,’” Bell says about her 10-year-old friend, David*.

Bell and David meet during The Saturday for Kids program, a recreation/respite program for children with disabilities. Several Wesleyan students, staff and faculty are donating a few hours a month to socially interact with the youngsters, and they’re always looking for more Wesleyan volunteers to work with children ages 6-12.

Saturday for Kids program Director Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant for the Classical Studies Department, Medieval Studies Program, and the Archaeology Program, says this is an ideal opportunity to give back to the community, while meeting other Wesleyan student and employees who they normally wouldn’t meet on campus.

“Since Wesleyan has really pushed for community services to be an important aspect of the Wesleyan community, I feel that the Saturday for Kids program is a vital avenue for Wesleyan students, faculty and staff to accomplish this,” she says.

Saturday for Kids is part of the Middlesex Association for Retarded Citizens: Community Resources, Ltd., most commonly known as MARC. The private, non-profit organization provides services to adults and children with cognitive disabilities and their families.

The Saturday for Kids Program is held two to three Saturday mornings a month. Structured activities, crafts, toys and free time for play offer valuable social interaction for the children.

Bell started volunteering in 2004 and was hired as a sub this year. She says the most rewarding part of working with the program is having the luxury of working one-on-one with a child. 

“With time and patience I have found rewarding connections through games and lots of smiling and laughing,” Bell says. “Working with special needs children is a great way to prepare for a teaching career or to be active in the greater Middletown area. I would recommend it to other students as a great way to get off campus and get involved with the community around us.”

Sierpinski has already written several recommendations for students who are applying for fellowships in this field or who are looking for summer employment working with children. 

Wesleyan’s Community Relations co-sponsors the program to enable some meetings to be held at Wesleyan. When the organization holds its Community Service Fair in September, Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations, recruits Wesleyan students and staff to man the information booth.

“Debbie and her student volunteers have been the heart and soul of the Saturday for Kids program,” Kuan says. “It’s a very worthwhile, service-orientated cause.”

Some Wesleyan employees have got involved in the Saturday for Kids Program through their talents. Helen Mensah, an artist in residence in dance, played African drums for the children. Juliana Shortell, collections manager of the Archaeology Program and member of the Footnotes Dance Theater performed a dance for the kids. Kids on the Block, a volunteer group associated with Oddfellows Playhouse and Wesleyan students, put on a play with puppets that have disabilities. 

Shortell says Footnotes has performed at schools and libraries around the state, but the Saturday for Kids Program is her favorite group to work with.

 “Usually there is a fair bit of snickering and shyness,” she says. “Not so with these kids.  They welcome us and jump right in, and because everyone cannot necessarily move or communicate in the same way, we all learn about different ways to relate to words, music, and movement. In the end, there is very little ‘performing’ going on, as we are all just playing together. And that is the way we like it!”

These special performances take place once a month during “Buddy Day.” During this event, the children can invite friends and siblings and anyone from the community to join in on the fun.

“It is a way to educate the community about what special needs means and makes the program more inclusive,” Sierpinski says.

Sierpinski is hoping more students and faculty from the theater, music and other departments donate their skills to entertain the children.

 “We have found that the common link with all of these children, no manner what level of functioning they are at or what kind of cognitive and physical disabilities they have, is music and dance,” she says. “Some of our non-verbal children give us a huge smile and we know that we have touched their soul.”

Sierpinski says the Classical Studies Department supports her working for the program. For a while, she was storing toys in the Classical Studies’ library. 

“One day, one of the visiting faculty members was riding one of the kids adult trikes down the hall,” she says. “I thought I was seeing things. He said the tires were flat, he had inflated them and was checking out the bike. I am very lucky to work at Wesleyan, a place very committed to community service.” 

The Saturday for Kids Program meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Woodhead Lounge, Mercy High School or at the MARC administration building, 421 Main Street in Cromwell.

“These are a fabulous group of kids,” Shortell says, “and you will always get back as much, if not more, than what you put in.”

For more information or to become a volunteer or performer, email Debbie Sierpinski at dsierpinski@wesleyan.edu or call Lou Alperowitz at 860-635-5151 extension 305.

(* last name withheld by request.)

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Vice President for Finance and Administration Retiring


Posted 04/15/05

Vice President for Finance and Administration Marcia Bromberg will retire from Wesleyan at the end of the fiscal year.

In her four years at Wesleyan, Bromberg has overseen numerous improvements. When she was hired she was charged with providing a more transparent financial planning and reporting system. This led her to a revamping of the budget planning cycle, budget and long-range planning materials, and the annual budget and financial statements. The result has been a more open and understandable set of processes and documents.

Bromberg also opened up the facilities planning process with the establishment of the Master Plan Executive Committee, which has coordinated on-campus planning and oversight for all facilities projects.

She recognized the need for a specialist to manage the university’s auxiliary services and created a director position to oversee those areas. She led in the recasting of the university’s bookstore, now operated by Follett College Stores, which has succeeded in providing the level of textbook services and support required by students and faculty.

In collaboration with a committee she established, Bromberg developed a new administrative staff evaluation and compensation system that links performance assessment to individual and University goals and provides a reward system for meaningful accomplishments. More recently, in collaboration with the faculty’s Compensation and Benefits Committee, she conducted a health plan review which led first to moving the university from a fully insured to a self-insured plan, and this past year, to an improved program that incorporates new plan designs and healthy living options.

Bromberg’s creative vision enabled Wesleyan to construct new residence halls on Fauver Field that will allow the university to house almost all students in university-owned housing.

March 30 was the culmination of another initiative: Wesleyan’s first Environmental Awareness Day. Students, faculty, the Connecticut Consortium of Independent Colleges and local civic and political leaders celebrated campus energy conservation initiatives, recycling activities and our plan to incorporate clean-energy electric vehicles into its campus service fleet. Through this initiative, Bromberg channeled student interests and concerns towards collaborative and positive results.

Wesleyan will soon begin a national search for Marcia’s successor. In the interim period after June 30, Vice President and Secretary Peter Patton will provide oversight to the Facilities and Auxiliary Services offices. Vice President for Information Technology John Meerts will provide oversight to the offices of Finance, Human Resources, Legal Projects, and Project Coordination. Tom Kannam, director of investments, will report to President Douglas Bennet while maintaining a dotted-line relationship with the interim and then the permanent vice president for finance.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Energy Specialist Always on Lookout for Ways to Cut Energy Usage


Phil Cotharin, temperature controls mechanic/energy management specialist, examines a variable frequency drive that controls the neighboring air handling unit in the Exley Science Center. The system significantly reduces energy waste.
Posted 03/31/05

Use less. Get more.

That’s how Phil Cotharin, temperature controls mechanic/energy management specialist, is helping Wesleyan save thousands a year by slashing energy usage. In an agreement finalized February 17, Connecticut Light & Power Company has agreed to pay Wesleyan a $27,450 incentive for keeping energy usage down.

“When Wesleyan uses less energy, CLPC can produce less energy, and it won’t have to build another power plant to service the community,” Cotharin says from his office, located in the basement of the Exley Science Center.

Cotharin started researching ways to lower energy cost last year by running an energy audit on the east side of Olin Memorial Library. The audit measured kilowatts used by a single air handling unit, which moves and conditions the air in the building.

“What I found is that the unit was running at 80 percent of its efficiency 24 hours a day,” Cotharin says. “So I figured, after midnight, why don’t we bring it down to 40 percent and have it running back at 80 percent at 7 in the morning.”

This formula conserves energy, but has little effect on the library’s temperature.

The simple idea has opened up many complex energy studies campus-wide. Cotharin is now devoting his career to finding ways to cut energy costs in all campus facilities.

“It is feasible to say that, in five years, Wesleyan could save half-a-million dollars a year if we apply this formula to all buildings,” Cotharin says. “It’s my goal and I don’t see why this is not obtainable.”

The numbers are already speaking for themselves. Cotharin discovered that the Exley Science Center will save $21,478 a year on its electric bill by running air units 1,584 fewer hours a year. Normally, the 13 air handling units would run 24 hours a day.

“Why should we run these things at a full work load when people aren’t inside, using the building,” Cotharin says. “Any piece of electrical equipment needs to be questioned. Do I need to leave that on or can I shut it off. It will all add up in the end.”

Cotharin encourages the installations of high-tech variable frequency drives (VFDs), which control air handling units by varying electric motor speed, significantly reducing energy waste. Most of Wesleyan’s building are equipped with pneumatic motor driven systems, set to operate at full speed, 24 hours a day. 

So far, Hall-Atwater, the Science Library, the Center for Fine Arts’ dance studios, Cinema Archives, Fisk Hall, the Center for Film Studies and the Freeman Athletic Center are heated and cooled with VDF systems.

Although these controls are pricey, they generate tangible benefits quickly. The Science Center’s units will pay for themselves in savings within the next three years.

“This one just celebrated its one month birthday,” Cotharin says, patting the side of a new unit in the basement of the science center. “This is state-of-the-art energy management.”

Cotharin and other employees of the Physical Plant can access climate control data of any building on campus 24 hours a day by computer. An energy-control program features schematics of every floor of every building, and can pin-point temperatures of any room at any time.

“Say I get a call from Hall-Atwater and they say room 140 is too hot, so I just look on here,” Cotharin says, clicking on a floor plan of Hall-Atwater. “I see that it is 76 degrees and the heating vent’s valve is closed, so I know there is a problem there. The data gathering information of this program is phenomenal. It’s just an invaluable piece of equipment.”

Cotharin and Gene Payne, heating and ventilation air conditioning utility mechanic, say all Wesleyan employees and students can do their part to conserve energy. By simply setting a building’s summer temperature at 76 degrees rather than 74 degrees on a 90-degree summer day, energy use is significantly reduced.

“You come here and work, but don’t tend to think about these things,” Payne says.

Cotharin and Payne are big supporters of the new Fauver Field Residence Complex, due to open in Fall 2005. Students currently housed in the approximately 140 wood-framed homes near campus are wasting the most energy.

“Most of these students are here to get an education and don’t think about things like conserving energy, and they won’t until they’re paying the bills out of their back pocket,” Payne says. “Wesleyan has such a diverse group of people from all different places and they’re not accustomed to New England climates, and they’ll turn their heat up to 76 or higher all winter. What a waste of energy.”

Cotharin says everyone on campus should be most aware of their energy usage during August and September when Wesleyan reaches its peak kilowatt demand. CLPC will issue a demand charge for this usage, in addition to a monthly service charge and kilowatt-per-hour energy charge.

“If we have a kilowatt demand level of 3.1 and we get a heat wave and everyone turns on their air conditioning and everything is sucking energy, our demand level might go up to 3.7 and we’ll get very high bills,” Cotharin says. “The whole target of my job is to keep us from going above that number and keeping Wesleyan’s total kilowatt usage down.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Ways to Save

Phil Cotharin, temperature controls mechanic/energy management specialist, advises Wesleyan students and employees to save energy where they can. Students and employees can contact Physical Plant at 685-3400 with any energy-saving suggestions, or to report any energy-wasting appliances (i.e. leaks or running toilets). “We’re not working or living in these places, so if we don’t know about it, we can’t fix it,” Cotharin says.

Here are some of Cotharin’s suggestions:

Employees 

Turn off lights when out of the office

Turn off computer monitors and shut down laptops

Use less hot water

Don’t use electric fans or space heaters

Shut coolers off during weekends and breaks

Set a reasonable work environment temperature

Dress warmer or cooler to rely less on heating and air conditioning

Turn fume hoods off in science center when not in use

Students

Turn of lights

Install energy efficient light bulbs

Use electrical timers that shut lights off automatically

Keep windows shut and locked during cold months

Install water-saving shower heads in homes

Report any dripping faucets or running toilets

Turn off refrigerators and coolers during breaks

Have housemates agree on reasonable temperature

 

Assistant Professor Receives NSF Grant


 
Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Manju Hingorani researches pathways that lead to carcinogenesis.
 
Posted 03/31/05

Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Manju Hingorani recently earned an award totaling more than $571,700 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research on pathways leading to carcinogenesis, including the development of colon, rectal, stomach, and ovarian cancers.

The five-year grant will specifically fund the research of Hingorani’s laboratory focuses on the workings of proteins responsible for DNA mismatch repair with the long-term goal of understanding how defects in repair are linked to many forms of cancers.

“I am tremendously grateful to the National Science Foundation for its strong commitment to basic science research and education, especially in this time of constrained budgets,” says Hingorani.

Hingorani earned the award thanks to the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. This program recognizes the critical roles faculty members play in integrating research and education, and in fostering the natural connections between the processes of learning and discovery.

To date, eight Wesleyan University faculty members have received this award including Hingorani, Assistant Professor of Astronomy Kathryn Johnston, Professor of Physics Reinhold Blumel and Associate Professors of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Scott Holmes and Michael McAlear.

Hingorani plans to use the funds to support graduate and undergraduate research projects in her laboratory, and to develop innovative courses on science writing and on science documentary filmmaking in collaboration with faculty from Wesleyan’s Department of Film Studies.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of media relations

NASA Awards Wesleyan Astronomer Major Grant


 
Astronomy Professor William Herbst studies the star, KH 15D. Pictured are images of KH 15D out of eclipse (left) and in eclipse (right) as taken from Wesleyan’s observatory.
 
Posted 03/31/05
It’s 3 million years old and 2,400 light years away, but a distant star discovered by Wesleyan researchers has given insight into how our solar system may have formed. NASA wants to know more, and has given William Herbst almost a quarter of a million dollars to keep looking.
 
This month NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) awarded Wesleyan Professor of Astronomy William Herbst a $216,000 grant to continue his studies of the star, KH 15D, and other emerging stars and their possible link to the creation of our solar system.
 
The grant for Herbst’s proposal titled “Synoptic Studies of T Tauri Stars in Nearby Clusters and Associations” will span three years. It was approved by NASA’s Origins of Solar Systems Program and is one of only 39 proposals of the 94 submitted that received funding.
 
“NASA is particularly interested in this work because they want to find planets that may support life,” says Herbst, the Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, chair of the Astronomy Department and director of the Van Vleck Observatory. “As far as we know, life can only get started on a planet. Understanding how these types of planets form can help us pinpoint where they may exist and when the conditions for the creation of life first occur.”   Three years ago, Herbst reported how KH 15D, a star in the constellation Monoceros that he and graduate student Kristin Kearns discovered, and that physics Ph.D. candidate Catrina Hamilton further helped identify, seemed to displaying the early stages of planet formation. KH 15D was periodically going through “winking” eclipses, determined by Herbst to be he swirling waves of rock and dust clouds typical of early planet formation. The discovery sent excitement through the astronomical community. He continues to study KH 15D and other young stars looking for more clues.   “Wesleyan has been recognized as a world leader in monitoring these young stars,” Herbst says proudly. “And we are able to do many of our observations using our own observatory on campus.”   Herbst also notes that in the awarding of the grant, the officials at NASA went out of their way to applaud the way undergraduates have been involved in the studies. Specifically, the reports says Herbst “is to be commended for his extensive work in student training, where he has done a first rate job in engaging undergraduates in research and launching them along productive career paths.”
 
“Involving undergraduates in the research is not required for the grant. In fact it’s pretty atypical for this level of research,” Herbst says, then smiles. “But it is what we do here at Wesleyan. I was glad NASA made note of it. It’s a part of our program that we are very proud of.”

Related resource: Animation of KH 15D.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Red & Black Cafe Donates 1% to Financial Aid


 
Posted 03/31/05

The next time you grab a bite to eat or enjoy a drink at the Red & Black Café, you’ll also be helping students in need at Wesleyan.

Ed Thorndike, Jr. ’89 and Karen Kaffen-Polascik, owners of Wes Wings and Red & Black Cafe, will donate 1 percent of their gross sales from Red & Black Cafe to support financial aid through the Wesleyan Annual Fund (WAF).

“This is something we’ve really been wanting to do,” says Thorndike. “I contacted University Relations and we were able to set it up and make it work. It’s really gratifying to know that this money will be going to help Wesleyan students in need.”

Their intention is to give semi-annually in May and January.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Cruz-Saco to Become Dean of the College at Wesleyan


Maria Cruz-Saco will become dean of the college.
 
Posted 03/31/05

Maria A. Cruz-Saco, interim dean of the college at Connecticut College, will become dean of the college at Wesleyan University on July 18.

Wesleyan’s dean of the college is responsible for the programs and services that support student learning and development. The office of the dean encompasses the class deans, the Office of Residential Life, student and behavioral health services, the Office of Student Activities, the Office of Community Service, the chaplains, and the new Usdan University Center. The dean serves as a member of the university’s senior staff.

“This is a moment of unusual opportunity,” says President Doug Bennet. “We are thinking afresh about how we link students’ academic experiences with their lives in the community and about how we can take full advantage of the diversity of student experience as a resource for learning. Wesleyan is also strengthening our residential life and student programming  in concert with the addition of new housing and the Usdan University Center. Maria Cruz-Saco will provide strong leadership in all these areas, and we welcome her to Wesleyan.”

Cruz-Saco is an economist and expert in social protection and the reform of social security systems with a regional emphasis in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has authored three books, co-edited one, and contributed many articles and chapters to professional journals and books. She earned her B.A. at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru, in 1979 and her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Pittsburgh in 1983.

She is a full professor of economics at Connecticut College.

Cruz-Saco has served as interim dean at Connecticut College since July 2003. She joined the college in 1990 and held leadership positions including chair of the economics department, chair of the Priorities, Planning and Budget Committee, member of the Grievances Committee, and member of the faculty steering committee of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. In 2002-03, she chaired the Presidential Commission on a Pluralistic Community charged with delineating the college’s vision for a multicultural experience and inclusive excellence. 

As interim dean, Cruz-Saco led an internal self-study of her division in comparative perspective, redrafted its vision, mission and goals and designed an action plan for 2004-2006. Under her leadership, the Dean of the College division produced a student quality of life report, concluded and implemented the results of a self-assessment of the Multicultural Center, secured an increase in the operational budget for pluralistic initiatives and supported the creation of a peer-mentoring pilot.

“Professor Maria Cruz-Saco has been a leader in strengthening the entire educational program at Connecticut College,” says Connecticut College President Norman Fainstein. “In 2002-03 she chaired a presidential commission on creating a genuinely pluralistic community. As interim dean of the college, she has continued to support efforts to improve equity and diversity, to further student achievement, and to better integrate the curricular and co-curricular sides of the college. She has worked closely with students, faculty and staff to establish a collegial climate and institutional structure where students can truly put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society. Her enthusiasm, energy, and intellect will be sorely missed.”

“I look forward to joining the Wesleyan community and to being a part of this vibrant and engaged campus,” says Cruz-Saco. “Wesleyan offers an extraordinary liberal arts education, and I feel fortunate that I will contribute to the continued excellence of student life and development.”

Billy Weitzer, senior associate provost and dean of continuing studies at Wesleyan, will continue in his role as acting dean of student academic services during Cruz-Saco’s transition. The role of dean of student academic services was established as part of a reorganization of the dean of the college office led by Wesleyan’s interim dean, Peter Patton.

 
By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications